About the course

Programme fees: £1100

This five-day course will aim to explore the role of symbols and religious symbolism within the art and architecture of diverse faith communities, with a particular reference to symbolism in Muslim contexts. Participants will have an opportunity to develop knowledge and skills to examine different symbolic forms in material culture through lectures by leading scholars, group discussions, museum and site visits, and other educational encounters. During the course, participants will be able to draw from vibrant historical and cultural encounters and explore the cross-fertilisation of symbols in a variety of religious and public spaces. Exploring the ways shared spaces, both public and religious, are steeped in the cultures of Christian, Muslim and Jewish communities will highlight the continuous sharing and borrowing of symbolic forms across the traditions of these faith communities. Moreover, the course will aim to stimulate participants to reflect and develop their own answers to the following questions: What makes a symbol ‘Islamic’, or for that matter ‘religious’? How have religious symbols been used in art and architecture? How does religious symbolism shape the lives and expressions of identities of faith communities in the past and present?

Ulrike Al-Khamis

Director and CEO of the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, Canada

Dr Ulrike Al-Khamis is the Director and CEO of the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, Canada. She is a well-known figure in the field with over 20 years of experience as a curator and senior advisor for museum and cultural projects. She holds a PhD in Islamic Art from the University of Edinburgh and served as Co-Director at the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization as well as Senior Strategic Advisor to the Sharjah Museums Department in the UAE from 2007 to 2017.